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Silicon Motion SM2256 with Toshiba TLC A19 Flash SSD - Exclusive Tests

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 9, 2014 4:50 pm

Toshiba A19 3-bit per cell TLC Flash




We really don't know a lot about Toshiba's new TLC flash, but we'll tell you what we do know. The A19 in the name means 19nm lithography, the same as Toshiba's A19 MLC that is currently shipping in several SSDs.


The buzz around Toshiba TLC flash has been mounting for two years, and for the last year, everyone we've spoken with thinks it should ship in the fourth quarter of 2014. That's right around the corner and you could definitely tell from the buzz here at Flash Memory Summit that people are excited.


For a little over a year now, Samsung has shipped TLC NAND flash in the 840 EVO. TLC should reduce the cost of flash, and thus the end products, in this case SSDs. While the Samsung 840 EVO has helped to reduce the price of consumer and even some enterprise SSDs, the prices are still higher than what they could be.


Most people are under the impression that Samsung is making a killing off selling TLC flash at high margins. Every time another company tries to compete in the mainstream SSD market, Samsung just reduces the price of the 840 EVO products and retains a very large portion of the market share.



Shots Fired


Toshiba, SanDisk, Micron and even SK Hynix have announced plans to release TLC flash. Micron will stick with 16nm MLC for this round, but we expect to hear more about Micron TLC next year. The other NAND flash players are ready to shoot back at Samsung with low-cost TLC flash.


When this happens, you can expect a full on price war as companies try to position products with current generation capacity sizes at unheard of SSD prices. SSDs will truly be mainstream one year from now, and no one can deny that an SSD on sale for 20 to 30 cents per gigabyte is a bad thing - unless maybe you are a hard disk drive manufacturer.


Around the same time, enthusiast class SSDs will reach the 2TB capacity sizes with TLC flash, many controlled by very high performance PCIe based interfaces such as NVMe.

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